The project management approach taken by a small independent oil company's first venture into subsea is described from initial business plan scoping economics to putting the wells on-stream, Hardy wanted to remain strictly a producer without a large internal engineering staff, However, they were adverse to delegating the project management or design responsibility to an outside company. The solution was a project management team approach with senior representatives of the major vendors being directly involved in the upfront design process. The vendor selection process included all the major contracting methods including turnkey, partnering, teaming and cost-plus.

The Mustique / Shasta project in the Gulf of Mexico included three wells in 800- I 100 ft water depth tied back 9- 12 miles to two platforms in 650 0 water depth.


The technical challenges faced in developing a deepwater subsea field are the same for a large multinational or a small independent operator. However. the managerial challenges are significantly different given the small company's lack of in house engineering and project management expertise. Strong focus on risk management is the key to success for the small oil company given that the capital costs of even a small deepwater subsea project is a very high percentage of the market value of the oil company. The approach and lessons learned on the Mustique/Shasta project can lead not only to minimizing upfront capital cost but also help ensure long-term quality and reliability of the production facilities.

Mustique and Shasta were not to be one-off projects. The business plan was to have an assembly line of continuous small gas tie-back projects after Mustique / Shasta but more importantly expand into projects that would add far more significant value to the company in the future. Specifically, this was defined as deepwater oil developments, 25 - 50 MMBO, in up to 2500 ft water depth. Positioning the company [o grow, while not hiring a large engineering staff, was a formidable task for a company that had only operated land and very shallow water depth offshore fields. To our knowledge Hardy is significantly smaller than any operator that has taken on the deepwater development challenge. It was vital that the company's first subsea project be a strong success and the company's key management knew that most projects fail not because of poor technology but because of poor management. Tremendous emphasis was placed on the quality of the project management process including personnel, contracts, interfaces and equipment design.

The issues addressed and methodology used as part of the project management philosophy focused on optimizing the development through strong vendor input and extensive use of commercial engineering.

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